Back in March, TDE founder Anthony Tiffith posted a photo of the L.A. collective's release plans. The white board schedule had release dates for for Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock's albums and also included drops for two "John Doe" artists that have still not yet been named yet, much less dropped an album.
Last night, TDE president Dave Free and almost all of the artists on his roster sent identical tweets—a single question mark— to Lance Skiiiwalker, whose Twitter bio describes him as a "singer / producer" from Chicago. Speculation has since grown that Skiiiwalker is one of TDE's John Doe's. (A representative for TDE did not immediately return a request for comment.)
Free also tweeted “John Doe” with a doctored GIF of Michael Jordan dapping Derrick Rose. As of Thursday morning, it's the only tweet that Skiiiwalker has favorited.
Skiiiwalker has already appeared on several of TDE's recent releases. He displays two very different vocal styles on three tracks from Jay Rock's 90059. He's sweet and soulful on “Money Trees Deuce” and “Telegram (Going Krazy),” then he turns up a bugged out presence on “90059” (a Twitter user points out that Skiiiwalker also appears in the song's video).
Lance Skiiiwalker is not the only name the artist goes by though. On ScHoolboy Q's “His & Her Fiend” from 2014's Oxymoron, one Lance Howard is listed as a composer and lyricist. Additionally, on “untitled 04” from Kendrick Lamar's March album untitled unmastered., someone named Rocket is credited with providing vocals on the smouldering interlude. Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive surmised that Skiiiwalker is Johnny Rocket, a producer and vocalist from a Chicago band called The Rocketeers. Once they broke up, Johnny Rocket “made his way to LA to link with Kendrick and TDE.” All strong indications that Rocket, Johnny Rocket, Lance Skiiiwalker and Lance Howard are all the same person.
You can watch one of The Rocketeers's music videos below, but as FSD notes, “much of Skiiwalker’s early material has been scrubbed for the internet.” So we'll all have to wait until Lance Skiiiwalker is officially announced as John Doe, and gets a release date, to really hear where TDE is going next.